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How Estonia’s cybersecurity strategy can help the EU cope with China

Fred Roeder, a German health economist and the managing director of the Consumer Choice Center, proposes Estonia to lead the European Union to a coherent cybersecurity strategy in order to protect consumers and businesses not only from cyberattacks from Russia but also from potentially much larger attacks and espionage from China.

Within the past twelve years, Estonia has emerged as a leading nation in the field of cyber defence and security. The cyberattacks of 2007 made Tallinn much earlier aware of the massive threat of online attacks compared with its larger NATO allies.

Especially under EU commissioner, Andrus Ansip (nominated by Estonia, Ansip was the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society from 2014 until July 2019 – editor), Estonia has been a driving force behind the European Commission’s new cybersecurity agenda. Estonia now needs to lead the European Union to a coherent cybersecurity strategy in order to protect consumers and businesses not only from cyberattacks from Russia but also from potentially much larger attacks and espionage from China.

China’s backdoors

The adoption of Internet of Things solutions and the highly anticipated rollout of very fast 5G networks will make consumers’ privacy even more vulnerable. The recent events in Hong Kong and the Chinese Communist Party’s reluctance to keep its commitments towards the rule of law are reasons why we must heed caution.

Some governments and manufacturers tend to be mostly concerned about competitiveness through low prices, which is important for consumers. However, we also care about privacy and data security. Therefore, a smart policy response is needed that would incentivise market players to give enough weight to consumer data security in Europe, all the while achieving that goal without undue market distortions and limiting of consumer choice.

n more than just one instance, the Chinese leadership has put legal or extra-legal pressure on private firms to include so-called backdoors in their software or devices, which may be exploited either by government agents alone or with a manufacturer’s help. As a response to threats like this, countries like Australia and the US went so far as to ban the Chinese network equipment manufacturer, Huawei, from its 5G networks.

Pressure on non-European suppliers to adopt the security-by-design approach

While some governments see bans as the best way to protect national security and consumer privacy, we know there is no single silver bullet solution for safeguarding privacy and data security. A mix of solutions is needed, and this mix will likely change over time.

Healthy competition between legal jurisdictions and between private enterprises is the best mechanism for the discovery of the right tools. But those working on cybersecurity solutions should also consider consumer interests. Keeping new regulation technology-neutral, and thus not deciding by law which technological solution is best, allows an agile framework for consumer privacy.

A Huawei phone (the image is illustrative/Pexels).

The EU’s current legal rules, like the General Data Protection Regulation, for example, do not provide sufficient clarity regarding liability of network operators for privacy violations made possible by hardware vulnerabilities. Thus, a clear standard of supply chain security must be defined.

Emphasising liability rules for using or reselling software or devices with vulnerabilities would give those rules more teeth and thus incentivise telecommunications operators and others to think about their customers’ privacy during their procurement decisions. This should, in turn, put pressure on non-European suppliers to adopt the security-by-design approach and to take pains to show that they have done so.

Smart regulation needed to prevent autocratic governments from spying on us

In solving the problem of unclear and ineffective legal rules on data security, we must take into account that technical standards should be as technology neutral as possible. Manufacturers from countries that are under scrutiny – such as China – might want to provide purely open-source technology in order to rebuild trust in their products.

Instead, the rules should be focused on outcomes and be as general as possible while still providing sufficient guidance. These standards should be possible to identify and adopt not just by the biggest market players who can easily devote significant resources to regulatory compliance. A certification scheme must be thorough in order to minimise the risk of any backdoors or other critical vulnerabilities.

5G 3.5 GHz cell site of Vodafone in Karlsruhe, Germany (the image is illustrative/courtesy of Tomas Freres/Wikimedia Commons).

The debate around 5G reminds us how vulnerable consumers are in a technologically and politically complex world and that cyber threats originate usually in autocratic countries.

Therefore, smart regulation is needed in order to protect consumers from data breaches and to prevent autocratic governments from spying on us. By continuing the legacy of commissioner Ansip’s leadership and strengthening the liability of network operators for technological vulnerabilities, both consumer choice and privacy can be ensured. Blunt instruments like total bans based on country of origin or regulators picking the technological champions should be seen as measures of the last resort.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

The scientific method is under attack

Assume a scientist were to tell you that a certain mathematical equation is demonstrably correct. You could twist and turn the equation in any possible way, yet you would always come to the same conclusion. Now assume this scientist had spoken at a conference once, and his or her hotel room had been paid by an industry which had a vested interest in the equation being true. A conflict of interest, some would say, yet you could only assume that it resulted in a distortion of his or her scientific work if you could show that the equation was false. No money in the world can change facts.

EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, is currently dealing with accusations of this nature. A European NGO called “Corporate Europe Observatory” (CEO) denounces the working group assessing the safety of gene drives – which is genetic engineering technology – as “compromised”. CEO claims that two-thirds of the working group have “financial links” to industry and organisations with vested interest in the matter of gene-editing.

However, EFSA responded to every single one of the concerns in a professional and detailed matter. The agency did not see a single instance in which the described “links” were of concern. For instance, CEO denounced the fact that Michael Bonsall, Professor of Mathematical Biology at Oxford University, has direct financial links with the British biotech company Oxitec. It turned out that the “direct financial links” were not financial investments with Oxitec, but research activities co-financed by the University of Oxford and Oxitec itself. In essence: these were public-private funded research projects between a private company and EU research grants.

But the work for CEO is done, so much so that EFSA’s devastating answer to their claims even now appears on their website. The scientists were smeared in the media, and no matter how many rebuttals the EU’s food safety agency would issue, much of the damage is already done. The headlines reading “food safety scientists accused of being bought” is all that these activists – who are sworn enemies of industrial agriculture – need.

The fact that gene-editing technologies could have a huge impact in reducing the death toll from diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever, and the Zika virus, is irrelevant to their quest.

A similar thing happened to French journalist Emmanuelle Ducros. The L’Opinion journalist is known for her columns on agriculture, calling out the unscientific work of environmental activists, and defending the scientific method against anti-GMO, anti-free trade, or anti-pesticide activists. Ducros was dragged through the mud by the French newspaper Libération and social media outrage ensued, all for moderating panels at industry conferences hat have a vested interested in the area of pesticides. Expenses were covered by these same interest groups. It remains a question of its own whether having your train journey and hotel room covered in a work context actually has that much of a powerful influence on your journalistic integrity. Never mind that the essence of what is backed up by evidence and what isn’t should be what determines that which can be reported as a fact.

For environmentalist NGOs, the Jaws (1975) quote “We are going to need a bigger boat” could easily be transcribed into “We are going to need a bigger smear”. The scientific method is under attack by those who do not believe in analysing and comparing evidence, but who claim that a spider web of industry groups have captured all the pro-science voices by bankrolling opinions. As a result, politicians legislate and regulate scientific innovations, and restrict consumer choice.

“What is your evidence?” is replaced by “Who funds you?,” and is killing the scientific debate. The consequences of that will be long-lasting.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Is the Cookie Law outdated and frankly just annoying?

Cookies are a basic part of how the Internet works but there’s hardly anyone I know that is in favour of pop ups on just about every website due to the EU’s Cookie Law. They store little bits of information about you such as when you are logged into a site, what you add to your shopping basket and all the useful things that personalise websites to you. Cookies are also used to track what you do on the Internet and can be used to link your activities across sites, for instance if your browse a flight for your next trip abroad, you might then see adverts for flights to the same destination on social media sites.

The EU hates Cookies with a passion as they’re big on protecting your personal information and that’s why a Cookie Law came into effect. It spawned horrible pop-ups on websites across the web which you have to click to accept or decline to whenever you visit a new site. The law was relaxed a little for implied consent but GDPR strengthened it and it’s back with a vengeance.

One of the reasons I detest the Cookie Law is because an increasing number of US sites refuse to bow down to the EU. Rather than installing Cookie Policy pop ups to infuriate 350 million US consumers, they’ve taken the attitude that it’s easier just to geo-block EU consumers and block them from even seeing their websites. That’s annoying.

Now, the Court of Justice of the European Union has decreed that “Storing cookies requires internet users’ active consent. A pre-ticked checkbox is therefore insufficient”. In a judgement that comes from German Court asking for an EU ruling (a country where it’s considered normal behaviour for a retailer to sue another claiming an unfair advantage if they don’t comply with every banal regulation going), the Court decided that the “consent which a website user must give to the storage of and access to cookies on his or her equipment is not validly constituted by way of a pre-checked checkbox which that user must deselect to refuse his or her consent”.

The Court went on to say that you have to tell the user how long the cookies will last for and and whether or not third parties may also have access to the cookies your site places on their computer. This is clearly information overload and best advice is firstly to not use Cookies where they are not needed but more importantly surely it’s time for the Cookie Law to change to acknowledge that Cookies are pretty essential to the Internet and that by using the Internet acceptance of Cookies can be implied to be accepted?

“The court has clearly established that current EU rules are outdated. Bombarding internet users with cookies isn’t user-friendly, informative, or productive.
 
When retrieving the information from your device, the website knows what particularly caught your eye, and they can improve their website structure or marketing based on this data. However, cookies can also be useful to the user, in that it stores your password, and keeps you logged into your favourite social media platform or airline account.
 
A well-reflected reform would put all cookie use under implicit consent, with the knowledge that users can use often free and already existing software that allows them to opt-out of all cookie use that they deem unsuited for them. This allows consumers to take their data use into their own hands, without an unnecessary and ineffective pop-up on every website.”

– Bill Wirtz, Senior Policy Analyst , Consumer Choice Center

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Trump’s Medicare executive order

CONSERVATIVE GROUPS SEND LETTER ON VAPING — A coalition of 25 conservative groups is urging Trump to keep flavored e-cigarettes on the market, arguing the products are “essential to the success of vaping as an alternative to cigarette use long-term.”

Groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, Consumer Choice Center and FreedomWorks argued the administration’s envisioned flavored vape ban would go against the White House’s deregulatory agenda and “destroy thousands of small businesses.” This comes as the White House abruptly organized, and then canceled, a meeting with conservative groups over vaping, which it said at the time would be rescheduled.

Read the article from POLITICO here.


For more facts on vaping, read our research on the Myths and Facts on Vaping: What Policymakers Should Know


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Transatlantic dialogue and not tariff war is the future of EU-US relationship

The World Trade Organization today has published a ruling giving the US the green light to impose punitive tariffs on the EU over the tariff on the EU subsidies for Airbus.

Luca Bertoletti, Senior European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center says: “We hope policy makers will consider rejecting the use of tariffs to escalate the dispute between Airbus and Boeing. These tariffs will not only hurt the aerospace industry but also many other sectors and especially consumers. As there is a new European Parliament and very soon a new European Commission this is the right time for both EU and USA to bury the axe of war and restart the transatlantic dialogue” continued Bertoletti.

“The EU-US relationship is the strongest of the world and it should be based on common market challenges such as how to deal with growing authoritarianism in China, not on a commercial war among free nations which will just hurt consumers” concluded Bertoletti.

Originally posted here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

5G et santé : le lobbying à travers les fake news

Veiller à la sécurité de tous, c’est bien… mais empêcher le progrès en se basant sur de fausses informations, cela nuit à tout le monde.

Chaque technologie engendre un certain degré de scepticisme. Que ce soit la découverte de l’électricité, l’invention du train, ou l’arrivée du micro-ondes dans notre équipement de cuisine, des voix critiques posent des questions importantes sur la sécurité.

Le réseau 5G n’y fait pas exception. Cependant, à un certain moment, il faut accepter les résultats scientifiques.

En tapant « 5G » et « santé » sur les moteurs de recherches, vous trouverez plusieurs articles qui ne pourront pas vous donner des réponses exactes sur les implications de santé du réseau, mais qui vous suggèrent plusieurs scénarios fatalistes.

En voici quelques exemples :

Déploiement de la 5G : les risques pour la santé sous-estimés ?

5G, risques pour la santé… et la météo

L’arrivée du 5G comporte d’importants risques pour la santé

La menace que la 5G pose à la santé humaine

Et si la 5G était nocive pour la santé?

UE : La course vers la 5G risque de laisser de côté le principe de précaution au détriment de la santé

Réseau 5G : la course au haut débit au détriment de notre santé ?

Téléphonie mobile : les vrais dangers de la 5G

Que faut-il savoir sur le rayonnement de type 5G ?

Le type de rayonnement impliqué dans les communications sans fil se situe dans la gamme des ondes radio, et ces ondes transportent beaucoup moins d’énergie que les rayonnements ionisants, comme les rayons X et les rayons cosmiques, qui peuvent briser les liaisons chimiques dans l’ADN et mener au cancer.

Aux Etats-Unis, la Commission fédérale des communications (FCC) réglemente le nombre d’ondes qu’on peut émettre. Le seul effet biologique connu qui existe concernant les radiofréquences est l’échauffement : la température de votre corps peut augmenter dans ces conditions.

En revanche, les limites existantes sont de telle nature qu’elles permettent d’éviter ce risque d’échauffement. Si l’on respecte les limites fixées par les réglementations actuelles, il n’y a aucune conséquence biologique.

Il faut également ajouter que les fréquences 5G sont différentes de ce qui est supposé dans les médias.

Les opposants à la technologie 5G affirment que les hautes fréquences de la technologie rendront les nouveaux téléphones et les tours de téléphonie cellulaire extraordinairement dangereux.

La vérité est exactement le contraire, comme l’expliquent les scientifiques. Plus la fréquence radio est élevée, moins elle pénètre la peau humaine, ce qui réduit l’exposition des organes internes du corps, y compris le cerveau.

A quoi bon les mythes contre la 5G, alors ?

D’un côté, nous avons le scepticisme général et régulier des écologistes anti-progrès et des conspirationnistes anti-corporatistes. Une telle opposition ne pourra jamais être réfutée au moyen de preuves scientifiques.

D’un autre côté, nous assistons au scepticisme de la population générale, organisé par des médiums différents, dont le site Russia Today (RT). Aux Etats-Unis, le New York Times explique que RT America inonde les réseaux sociaux de messages anti-5G. L’idée serait d’arrêter les progrès des Etats-Unis, au profit de la Russie.

Bien plus simplement, les désinformations sont souvent au profit de certaines entreprises en concurrence.

Nous l’avons bien vu dans la discussion sur la connectivité des automobiles – 5G contre wi-fi : les constructeurs faisaient assaut de lobbying à Bruxelles pour convaincre l’Union européenne de soutenir l’une ou l’autre.

En juillet, le gouvernement allemand a ainsi publié sa position sur la question de ces technologies futures. Il se prépare à soutenir l’utilisation de la technologie wi-fi pour relier les voitures connectées, arguant que la technologie 5G n’est pas encore assez mature pour livrer des résultats.

Le document publié par le gouvernement allemand affirme que « l’industrie doit se concentrer sur la technologie qui utilise des signaux à courte portée, à base de wi-fi ».

En réponse, certains constructeurs automobiles se sont prononcés en faveur de la position prise par le gouvernement allemand tandis que d’autres ont estimé que Berlin devrait plutôt soutenir la technologie 5G.

La bataille du lobbying se livre à travers des organes de communication classiques. A ce niveau, il faut tout d’abord établir une base de faits vérifiables, afin de discuter sur une base de connaissances égales.

Dans le cas de la 5G, ce débat sera crucial pour le futur technologique de l’Europe.


Publié à l’origine ici.

Counterpoint: What about freedom to choose your care?

From atop the lecterns at the Democratic presidential debates and the White House, a common trope is dismantling and rejiggering how health care is delivered in America.

For those on the left, the emphasis is on expanding who can access government-backed health insurance programs while cutting off the role of the private sector. And on the right, President Donald Trump is looking to import drugs and pharmaceutical price controls from abroad.

Missing in both of these visions is the essential component that governs every other sector of the economy: the freedom to choose.

Much like housing, transportation and education, it’s clear that the entire health care sector needs disruption. We need some out-of-the-box thinking, innovation and on-demand delivery that will bring costs down for ordinary people.

It’s this formula that has empowered millions to rise out of poverty, make a decent living for their families, and expand consumer choice to makes their lives better.

But both the Democrats and Trump are leading Americans astray on what really matters when it comes to health care.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris have serious proposals to totally ban the private health care market in favor of a “Medicare for All” system. That means every American would be thrown into the government insurance program reserved for our seniors.

All administration, billing, reimbursement claims and hospital contracts for more than 350 million people would be handled by the federal government. For a country as unique, diverse and large as the United States, this just couldn’t be carried out effectively.

Such plans would make it illegal for Americans to choose the type of health care coverage that fit them best, depriving them of fundamental choices.

Many younger working people don’t have comprehensive insurance because it doesn’t make economic sense. They would rather pay out of pocket for small expenses and use high-deductible disaster insurance when necessary.

For the 8.8 percent of Americans without health insurance, would they benefit from a mass reorganization of the system that would offer the care reserved for our seniors if the cost comes in the form of higher taxes and less consumer choice?

The same applies to Trump’s well-intended but flawed plans on importing drugs from single-payer systems around the world.

The reason pharmaceutical drugs are more expensive has more to do with subsidies than cost. Most drugs are born from innovative American firms but are subsidized greatly or negotiated for lower rates by governments who import them.

Firms can afford this because it’s offset by American prices, meaning the rest of the world is free-riding on American innovation and intellectual property.

They achieve this by reducing access and choice. It’s no secret that the lion’s share of pharmaceutical drugs are available in the United States while they’re unavailable in the countries that refuse to pay for them. So yes, the prices of drugs may be cheaper in Canada or Norway, but the supply and choices are lacking.

Do we want fewer choices of drugs for lower costs or more choices and prices at market rate?

What matters most when it comes to our personal health is the freedom to choose. Whether it is our doctor, insurance program or drugs we buy, Americans want to be able to pick what works best from them.

Grandiose plans that seek to completely reorganize how many taxes we pay and how we receive care would severely restrict that.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Green Activists Hate Trump More Than They Love Animals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just made history by announcing a plan to end wasteful taxpayer-funded animal testing by 2035. This is a huge win, but regulation-happy green groups criticizing the move have made clear that they hate the Trump administration more than they love animals and the environment.

Upon its release, the EPA’s landmark proposal was welcomed by animal-loving taxpayer advocates like us, as well as industry leaders, animal advocates, and scientists because it will eliminate wasteful and misleading animal tests that reduce consumer access to safe products, cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually, handcuff industry, and needlessly harm animals. The news even united lawmakers at far opposite ends of the political spectrum like Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen who worked together with White Coat Waste Project to expose the EPA’s animal tests last year.

Bloomberg’s Adam Allington tweeted, “In a rare moment of accord, the Trump EPA has done something many progressives can get behind — Setting a fairly ambitious plan to phase out chemical testing on animals.”

But not all progressives are cheering. In response to the EPA’s announcement, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) voiced partisan outrage, alleging: “Trump Administration Guts Collection of Data on Toxic Chemicals.” NRDC alleges that without animal studies, it would be “much harder to identify toxic chemicals — and protect human health.” How so?

Animal testing represents the dark-ages of regulatory policy. It was more relevant when our tools to measure risk were primitive, but today’s technology allows much more precise ways to evaluate real-world risks. Researchers have repeatedly shown that 21st century technologies based on human biology — not crude and contrived tests in which rabbits, dogs and other animals are forced to swallow and breathe massive doses of chemicals — are best at predicting health effects in humans. Because of the inherent uncertainty of extrapolating from results on animals to humans, it is necessary to build in huge safety factors for human exposure.

But now, with more accurate scientific methods, we no longer need to rely on animal studies and the precautionary regulatory limits we had to accept a generation ago. Better precision will allow us to safely benefit from advanced chemistry such as the use of silicones which are essential to environmentally-friendly technologies such as modern energy-efficient lighting.

So why would environmental activists, who we’d think have an affinity towards animals, be up in arms over the move? We have a theory.

It’s that these activists are so hell-bent on banning synthetic chemicals that they are willing to support outmoded risk analysis tools to achieve their political agenda, even if it requires torturing animals.

An NRDC staffer told reporters about the modern non-animal tests, “If the tests themselves are not indicating a toxic effect, then EPA is presuming there is no toxic effect.” So, even though these new technologies are more accurate at predicting human risks, the greens apparently prefer the animal tests precisely because of the uncertainty they introduce, which can delay or prevent safe products from coming to market.

Last year, based on misleading animal testing, a California judge ordered Starbucks and other coffee sellers in the state to put cancer warnings on coffee. But it turned out the results were irrelevant to humans, for whom normal amounts of coffee consumption is safe, and the warning was called off.

Warning about a product when risks are not well-understood is prudent. But it would be absurd to continue to warn after the best science tells us there’s nothing to worry about, like in the case of 1,000 studies showing coffee is safe for humans and actually has health benefits. That’s exactly what environmentalists want.

Why? They have an extreme agenda that seeks to eliminate as many synthetic chemicals as possible based on an unscientific view that synthetic chemicals are killing the earth. So to gain broader public support, they’ve long feasted on uncertainty about human health allegations to build support for their anti-chemical ideology. But with better regulatory science now available, the ploy is no longer viable.

The move should please just about everyone except for extremists. A 2018 national poll found that 79 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats want to cut EPA’s animal testing.

Scientific innovation, appropriate regulation and bold leadership can resolve some of the world’s most intractable problems — and advance a more civil society at the same time.

Opposition to the EPA’s embrace of better regulatory science exposes the true colors of the radical green groups: they are willing to needlessly sacrifice not only animals, but scientific advances themselves, in order to achieve their narrow agenda.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

The Consumer Choice Center talked with Vicki McKenna about the “Don’t Vape” hearing

Washington D.C – Our Senior Fellow Jeff Stier sat down with Vicki McKenna for a quick chat about #Vaping, her recent testimony for the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy hearing, and how she became a public health hero for the harm-reduction campaign.


For more facts on vaping, read our research on the Myths and Facts on Vaping: What Policymakers Should Know


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Govt shouldn’t help Thomas Cook casualties: opinion

Don’t put ordinary consumers on the hook for flying back Thomas Cook holidayers

On Monday, the travel company Thomas Cook announced it would cease operations immediately after it was unable to raise enough money to pay off its debts. This has left hundreds of thousands of travelers without return flights from their holiday destinations.

As a response, several politicians in the U.K. called for government aid to Thomas Cook, and the government has been called to intervene and help out stranded travelers.

Fred Roeder, London-based Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, responded by stating that an intervention by the government would be the wrong direction to take.

“It is sad to see a legacy travel company such as Thomas Cook to go under,” said Roeder. “But many politicians want to show their support to stranded travelers by flying them home on taxpayers’ dime.

“While it is very unfortunate to be stranded at the end of a holiday, one should ask why taxpayers should pay for tourists who didn’t buy insolvency or travel insurance? 

“Why should those who stayed home because they either didn’t have the money or time for holidays bail out those who went for a holiday trip but didn’t want to spend the extra few pounds for insurance? This is effectively is the scenario that ordinary British consumers and taxpayers are faced with,” said Roeder.

“We cannot expect Britons who didn’t go on holiday to bail out those who did without reasonable insurance, and effectively bail out the company for its own financial mess.

“Airlines and tour operators going bankrupt happens regularly. Monarch and AirBerlin are just two recent European examples. If the government steps in every time a travel company goes bust, the wrong incentives will be set: Travelers won’t buy insurances and at the same time risk booking heavily discounted offers from troubled travel companies. 

“If this happens, then the next government-sponsored airlift will just be around the corner,” said Roeder.

This article was originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center fights for affordable flights across the world. For more information on how you can help, read our report Hands-off my Cheap Flights.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

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